On the surface, they seem elegantly simple.
But underneath, a complex network of parts must work in perfect harmony.
That’s how a system works.
Take, for example, the solar system. If you stare at the moon, it seems so peaceful. If you didn’t know any better, you’d never guess that the moon is just one of many celestial bodies hurtling at breakneck speeds through space, somehow miraculously sparing us our lives each day.
Of course, our solar system is just that: a system. And though all the moving parts may seem chaotic and unpredictable, there’s actually order underneath it all, and like a clockwork, everything is understandable and predictable—albeit very complex.
Language learning systems are no different. Okay, there’s less risk of imminent death from asteroids or rogue moons, but the underlying principle is the same: a language learning system is a complex network of parts that work in perfect harmony to give you the surface-level impression of elegant simplicity.
That’s because language learning systems are carefully designed to maximize your learning. Like language immersion programs, language immersion software and language learning systems seek to give you a naturalistic learning experience that helps you acquire functional language skills.
These smart language programs are often available as online language programs or as software. Some are even available as audio programs for anyone who likes a hands-free approach. As Benny Lewis at Fluent in 3 Months points out, the best system is human beings, but a well-designed language learning system can sure come close!
You’ve probably heard of the big names in the language learning system world. For example, Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur are some of the best-known options. However, there are some useful language learning systems available that you may never have heard of. Today we’ll look at six unbelievable ones that you may not have discovered yet—any new learner should check them out!
Why Use a Language Learning System?
First, language learning systems are designed for learners. Because of this, they focus on catering to the unique needs of learners and addressing the most pressing issues. This makes learning systems more focused than independent study.
Language learning systems also vary material to keep you engaged. Whenever you focus on one thing too long, you’ll probably get bored. For instance, no one likes studying vocabulary lists for hours at a time. Language learning systems avoid this tedium by switching things up and varying material. Most language systems mix listening activities, vocabulary study and more to keep you on your toes and keep your brain fully engaged.
Additionally, language learning systems include a wide array of tasks and exercises to ensure you develop well-rounded skills. If you study independently or use imbalanced resources, you risk having some skills that are more developed than others. For instance, you might end up being able to read a language, without actually being able to speak it. Language learning systems focus on providing balanced skills, saving you the trouble of having to remember to get in your reading, writing, speaking and listening practice.
What’s more, language learning systems are convenient. Many are entirely online, while others offer a software option. Additionally, many are flexible regarding the amount of time you use them—you can study for mere minutes a day or for hours on end.
Finally, language learning systems are less expensive than most conventional courses. If you take a course at a university, it’s likely to cost thousands of dollars, and if you want to become fluent in a language, you’ll need to take several courses. Needless to say, these costs can really add up. Many language learning systems are available for purchase and/or via online subscription, and these usually cost significantly less.
Let’s have a look!
Use These 6 Out-of-this-world Language Learning Systems to Become Fluent!
Fluenz’s approach is to use your knowledge of English to help you acquire a new language.
By pointing out words between languages that share the same root words and relating grammar and syntax to the rules you already know, Fluenz aims to help you learn your new language quickly.
The main program includes guided video lessons and targeted practice of the principles you’ve learned.
When you purchase Fluenz, you also get access to online content, apps, flashcards and MP3s.
Fluenz is available for download or on a disc.
Fluenz currently offers courses in French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese and both European and Latin American Spanish.
FluentU’s language learning system offers a uniquely engaging experience for language learners.
That’s because FluentU doesn’t use conventional course material. Instead, you learn a language through authentic, real-world videos like movie trailers, news clips, music videos and more. Each video is captioned and the captions are annotated to give you easy access to any word’s definition, including an associated image and example sentences. Additionally, if you want to see how a word is used in other videos, simply click that word.
FluentU also offers a “learn mode” that incorporates videos, images and example sentences into flashcards and exercises for a fun, interactive learning experience.
FluentU is flexible and fully personalized. You select your pace and what videos you want to watch. Meanwhile, FluentU takes your learning history into account, using an algorithm to present level-appropriate questions. This way, you’ll learn more by building on what you know.
FluentU currently offers English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and Portuguese is on the way soon.
Transparent Language is a language learning system used by institutions and individuals alike.
Transparent Language uses a research-based methodology to aid in learning. The approach teaches vocabulary first before building towards increased grammar.
With Transparent Language, you can follow the path they’ve prepared for you or you can pick and choose the order in which you want to learn the material. Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll get valuable listening, reading, writing and speaking practice along the way.
Speaking practice can be difficult to get by using a computer program, but Transparent Language offers speech-enabled technology that allows you to compare your pronunciation directly to that of a native speaker. You’ll also get typing practice, which is a valuable skill you may not have even thought of practicing.
Transparent Language is available as a monthly subscription and works on most internet-enabled devices. It offers over 100 languages, including popular languages like Chinese, Spanish and French, along with less-common languages like Mongolian and Dakota.
If you want to arm yourself with the conversational skills to interact with native speakers, Babbel is a good jumping-off point.
Babbel’s language experts have put together courses designed to build on skills you already know from your native language.
From there, interactive dialogues with native speakers help teach you conversational skills, while voice recognition helps you practice speaking.
Additionally, Babbel allows you to learn vocabulary relevant to your life, which makes it much more usable than other generic sets of vocabulary that you may never use.
Babbel allows you to set your own pace. Sessions are 10-15 minutes, so it’s easy to fit into any schedule. Plus, Babbel can be used online or via their app.
Babbel is available by subscription and offers Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Polish, Turkish and Indonesian.
As the name would suggest, Speed Learning Languages aims to help you learn a new language quickly and efficiently.
The program focuses on having you speak right off the bat. It leans heavily on audio to improve your ability to speak with and understand native speakers. Drills give you the practice you need to able to speak confidently without having to spend too much time thinking.
Plus, Speed Learning Languages uses systematic repetition of vocabulary to help you absorb new words.
Speed Learning Languages is available via download and offers Spanish, French, German, Italian and Chinese.
Instant Immersion is designed to guide learners from being complete beginners to attaining a conversational level in the target language.
Through a series of games, activities and real-life scenarios, Instant Immersion aims to teach you valuable phrases and useful skills. Quizzes monitor your progress and allow the software to target your weak areas. If you need a hands-free option, Instant Immersion also offers audio lessons.
Instant Immersion courses are available via download, and the courses for some popular languages are also available on discs, with the option to purchase workbooks as well. There are over 120 languages available, including popular options like Spanish, French, German and Chinese. However, Instant Immersion also offers a wide array of less-common languages, including Alsatian, Chichewa and Saami.
Don’t let your language education feel like a bunch of rocks dangerously hurtling through space. With these six exciting language learning systems, you can take control of the inner gears of your brain, while making your learning seem elegantly simple.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.